“I guess we are all a bit fascinated by death”, says Victor, carver of these beautifully macabre animal skulls.
Victor is from Transylvania, Romania, and started carving the skulls after being arrested for possession of drugs two years ago. “I started carving skulls because I was forced to quit many different substances at the same time. It became my way to detach and was the only thing that kept my sanity throughout that ordeal,” he says. “I had been given a wild boar skull by my friend, which I cleaned to calm my nerves. Then I had the idea to start carving it with an actual drill.”
Faced with a choice between prison time and a hefty fine, Victor chose the fine. Beginning with clumsy and improper tools he began to teach himself the intricacies of carving, perhaps unsurprisingly influenced by the black metal/doom and stoner soundtrack he chooses to listen to in the background. Bands like Sleep, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Pentagram and Bongripper are particular favourites to help get him in the mood.
After a year he managed to get together the cash for a proper micro motor and bits designed for carving, and his designs really took off. He now has customers from all over the world buying his skulls. “I sell to people from all creeds and nations, there doesn’t seem to be a certain type of person that buys them,” he tells me. Surely however, there’s a certain darkness to the art that must suit a particular taste. I ask him if he knows if they are used for purposes other than pure decoration, occultist practices for example. “I can only hope,” he says with a laugh.
Victor gets his skulls from a variety of sources. “I usually scour the woods, road kill, flea markets, sometimes I get them from local farmers that raise and cut down their animals for meat. I usually buy the skulls off them with meat and everything on them, then I clean all of them myself.” Cleaning them is itself an intensive process, involving boiling, an air compressor and finally hydrogen peroxide baths to whiten them.
Next in the pipeline is a much larger sculpture, a complete horse skeleton. “It’s all going to be very intricately carved, with every rib and vertebrae including the skull,” Victor tells me. At over 4 metres it would make an imposing addition to your collection!